China’s BYD, world’s biggest EV maker, takes on Tesla in Australia

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BYD, the Chinese company that is now the world’s biggest maker of electric vehicles, releases first EV in Australia in challenge to domination of Tesla.

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BYD, the Chinese company that has emerged as the world’s biggest maker of electric vehicles, is releasing its first EV in Australia, in what is considered to be the most significant development in the local market since the release of the Tesla Model S.

The BYD E6 electric vehicle will initially charge hire-car and taxi fleets, although it will also make its EVs available to private buyers, according to the Caradvice website.

byd_e6_01The E6 is described as a “high-riding, all electric people mover”, with a battery pack of 75kWh, a range of 300kms, and a purchase price of around $80,000.

EV sales in Australia have been slow, with less than 1,000 sold before the end of 2014, although figures have since been boosted by the take-up of the Tesla Model S, which sells from around $140,000 and is now the top selling pure EV model in Australia.

The E6 will be distributed in Australia by transport logistics group Carbridge. CEO Luke Todd told CarAdvice that the Australian market has not yet warmed to auto brands out of China, but the BYD vehicle will submit for safety testing by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), and is confident of obtaining top marks.

BYD sold 62,000 EVs into the Chinese market in 2015 and plans to double that this year. China, which is actively encouraging EVs to reduce pollution, saw sales of 188,000 EVs last year.

BYD is 10 per cent owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

BYD founder and chief executive Wang Chuan-fu told RenewEconomy in January that he expects the global market for EVs to double in each of the next three years, although the company did not see itself as a competitor to Tesla.

“This is not about competiton. The market is so huge, it needs more people’s participation in the market. Tesla is targeting high end, there is a bit of an overlap, but we are focusing on electric cars and buses in different markets.”

BYD has cheaper models than the E6, but it is the only BYD model available in right hand drive.


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  1. Mike Dill 3 years ago

    Good to see the ‘non-competition’ starting.

    • MaxG 3 years ago

      It will, and will be more or less competitive as far as price is concerned, because the market is huge for EVs (agree with here with Wang Chuan-fu).
      Due to the Internet and social media connectivity, new inventions / products / trends take off much quicker than compared to the past.

  2. Brunel 3 years ago

    Shows the need to come up with a global HVDC plug.

    Then people who do not have a garage can recharge too.

  3. solarguy 3 years ago

    I would expect a better range than 300km from a 75kwh battery!

    • Antony Day 3 years ago

      Since the Nissan Leaf, which has a 24kwh battery with a quoted range of around 140km really only achieves about 120km and less at highway speeds and this has 3X the Battery but is also a much bigger ( and likely less aero ) car, I think they are being admirably conservative – and 300km is more than adequate for most applications.

      • solarguy 3 years ago

        I haven’t look at the E6 specs to compare, have you? But it seems at this stage to be chewing a few too many electrons @250w/km

        • Antony Day 3 years ago

          Yes, I guess its because it’s not a small car – my leaf uses on average 140W/km so that is steep, but I’d prefer that manufacturers under estimate their range than over estimate.. like the imiev and in fact the Leaf

        • neroden 3 years ago

          I presume the E6 is steel (as opposed to Tesla’s aluminium) and it probably has poor aerodynamics (as opposed to Tesla’s best-in-class aerodynamics).

          Tesla’s 70 kWh battery gets 386 km of range. If BYD’s 75 kWh battery gets 300 km of range, well, the extra weight and poor aerodynamics could account for that.

  4. neroden 3 years ago

    Go BYD.

    Yes, they are a competitor to Tesla. That makes a sum total of two electric car companies. The market is definitely large enough!

  5. Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

    I expect it will make an excellent Taxi. If somebody releases an app that allows me to call exclusively for an electric cab, I will use it every time.
    (Sydney resident)

    • Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

      And a shout out to the people at Please keep an eye out and throw your weight behind the first taxi fleet to electrify. That should guarantee they get off to a flying start. Things could transition quite rapidly from there, with every passenger experiencing the superior electric drive. It’s impossible not to feel like your ICE is ‘broken’ thereafter.

  6. Coley 3 years ago

    “BYD founder and chief executive Wang Chuan-fu told RenewEconomy in January that he expects the global market for EVs to double in each of the next three years, although the company did not see itself as a competitor to Tesla”
    Gives the headline a whiff of ‘click bait’

  7. Steve Brown 3 years ago

    What is potentially really exciting for Australia is, this vehicle’s “stated” ability to supply power to the home (V2H) and power to the grid (V2G). Nissan and Mitsubishi and Tesla have been talking about developing this capability for over 5 years with not much result. For Australia, with its amazing solar potential this is great news. If all of us, with about 6kW+ of roof top solar and one of these cars, we’d be pretty much be self sufficient without the need for the extra in house batteries.

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